For the past 5 years, Lollapalooza has been a staple of my summer schedule. I will never forget my dad walking me down to the gates when I was 15, somehow allowing me to enter this lawless and crowded mass of humanity all by myself, before I even had my driver’s license. I had grown up in a small town, and the possibility of going to a massive music festival was nothing short of daunting. Five years later, I’m a seasoned Lolla veteran, and my father will even be joining me on the final day this year.
Chicago’s favorite lakefront festival has produced some of the best shows I have ever seen, from Arcade Fire’s exciting show leading up to the release of The Suburbs to Kids These Days’ explosion onto the national scene to Coldplay’s beginning of a new, graffiti-based era. The festival is usually a hot swamp of suburban bros with snapbacks and tank tops as far as the eye could see. The beautiful part about this festival, however, is how all of these people come together in one of the best cities in the world and just enjoy the music.
12-12:45 – The Neighbourhood – Petrillo Bandshell
It’s a rare occurrence when my girlfriend finds a band before I do, but when she does, she’s always right (thanks, Lizzie!). She truly did hit the nail on the head with The Neighbourhood. I’m excited to see what these guys can do live because, quite frankly, I can’t find a bad track on their one and only album. Their early set means that perhaps they won’t have a big crowd, either, which will be great.
2:30-3:15 – Smith Westerns – Red Bull Sound Select
You don’t need to tell me to see Smith Westerns twice. This will actually be my 4th time seeing the Chicago-based pop-rockers, but the first time after the release of their 3rd album Soft Will, which impressed many. Hopefully the new songs sound as well-polished as the past ones do. If that happens, it will be no doubt that this set will be one of my favorites of the weekend.
3:30-4:15 – Atlas Genius – The Grove
Other than their consistent rotation on WPGU, I don’t know that much about Atlas Genius. Their album was extremely catchy, though. Hopefully the Australians can impress with their playful lyricism and catchy tunes.
5:15-6:15 – Imagine Dragons – Lake Shore
Maybe I’m a hermit, but I really don’t know anything about Imagine Dragons except that they’re on that one car commercial. I know they’ve been touring heavily (including a stop at my most favorite venue in the world: Red Rocks Amphitheater) and that they have a very strong alt-punk vibe, which is something that I think I could get into…at least for an hour
6:50-7:30 – Chance the Rapper – BMI
I don’t know where to begin with Chance. I’ve been an enormous fan for a couple of years now, and to see him headlining a stage at Lolla will be an insane experience. The hometown crowd will most certainly be hyped. I’m looking for this to probably be the best show of the entire festival, if we’re being honest with each other.
8:25-10:00 – The Killers – Red Bull Sound Select
Like many people my age, The Killers had an enormous impact on my adolescence. My dad bought me Hot Fuss before I really knew what good music was, and really, it probably started my interest in music (thanks, dad!), or at least my interest in something other than boy bands. I saw the Vegas-bred band at Lolla when they headlined a couple years ago, but by no means does that mean I’m not excited for this time around, too.
2:15-3:00 – St. Lucia – The Grove
I picked this band because of their name. Yeah, I said it. I won’t even lie about this…I know absolutely nothing about them. But that’s the fun of Lollapalooza…you can see a band you know absolutely nothing about and maybe grow to love them. So here’s to you, St. Lucia. Hopefully you impress.
3:45-4:45 – Matt & Kim – Petrillo Bandshell
I had the pleasure of seeing Matt & Kim in high school for free over at Parkland College. It was an absolutely insane show. I was in the front row…and I was really sweaty, but it was definitely worth it. Though the Brooklyn-based duo’s new album didn’t make an enormous splash, I have faith in their live show above all other things. Also, check back for an exclusive WPGU interview from these guys immediately following Lolla!
4:45-5:30 – Unknown Mortal Orchestra – The Grove
UMO had a killer set at last year’s Pygmalion. If they can repeat it here at Lolla, I have no doubt that there will be a massive amount of new and extremely satisfied fans.
6:45-7:45 – Kendrick Lamar – Bud Light
I can’t wait to see the sea of neon-tank-top clad bros bobbing their head to Kendrick Lamar’s witty rhymes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not insulting anyone. I love that Kendrick can bring people together over his music…and that, in turn, will lead to a great show. No one’s vibe is going to be killed, I predict.
7:15-8:15 – The Lumineers – Lake Shore
Throughout my entire life, I’ve had a massive connection to the city of Denver, Colorado. Thus, when a band comes from Denver, I feel an emotional tie to them. To see The Lumineers (and their brand of western-inpsired folk) progress this year has been nothing short of inspiring. So from Denver to Chicago, I will be there to support these guys. Go Broncos.
8:30-10:00 – The Postal Service – Bud Light
Someone once described The Postal Service to me as Death Cab mixed with a little bit of electronic music. While this description isn’t spot on, it isn’t entirely wrong, either. Ben Gibbard and his Postal Service crew are finally touring, which is something that has been lacking from TPS’s repertoire for a long time. Here’s to hoping it’s as good as I know it can be.
12-12:45 – Guards – Lake Shore
I used to work at a record store in Monticello, IL called Any Frequency and occasionally we would have in-store concerts. Along with my personal favorite band to stop by, Phantogram, came Guards, a little known band that was somehow associated with The Cults. They put on a hell of a show in a record shop in the middle of no where and now they’re playing Lollapalooza. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
2:15-3:00 – Wild Nothing – Red Bull Sound Select
This is another one of those bands I don’t know anything about. Please impress me, Wild Nothing.
4:30-5:30 – Two Door Cinema Club – Bud Light
Two Door Cinema Club exploded onto the scene this year, however, a lot of people take issue with TDCC because they sound so similar to every band in their genre. To be frank, that doesn’t bother me. I was thoroughly impressed with their latest album. It’ll be interesting to see how that translates over to a live show, however.
5:00-6:00 – Alt-J – Lake Shore
My roommate had what some would call an unhealthy addiction to Alt-J throughout Sophomore year. I thought he was out of his mind until I, too, listened to their first album An Awesome Wave. I won’t say he’s not crazy, but I will say since I’ve heard the album, he’s started to make a little more sense to me. My friends who went to Bonnaroo say that Alt-J definitely know how to command a stage, as well.
6:00-7:00 – Grizzly Bear – Red Bull Sound Select
One of my greatest regrets is not seeing Grizzly Bear at Pygmalion last year. It’s redemption time, homies.
6:30-7:45 – Vampire Weekend – Bud Light
I’ll probably only catch the very end of this set…and that’s a hard decision to make but it has to be made. Vampire Weekend released my favorite album of this year, though, and to be able to see any part of that performed live would be absolutely fantastic.
8:00-10:00 – The Cure – Red Bull Sound Select
Every year Lolla seems to bring some group out of retirement (relatively). This year, Robert Smith and his posse come to the lakefront to hopefully rock the stage. I can only think of one word to describe how I hope this set turns out: LEGENDARY.